The French state-owned utility EDF has lowered its annual nuclear output forecast in France due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the company announced on Thursday.
EDF's revised forecast is down from the initial expectation of 375-390 terawatt-hours (TWh) to 300 (TWh) for 2020.
According to the company's statement, EDF also estimates that annual nuclear output in 2021 and 2020 will range from between 330 TWh and 360 TWh for each year.
The company said that in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, it has made adjustments to all its activities to protect personnel working at its nuclear power plants.
"The execution of work that was due to be performed during the maintenance outages has been significantly affected, thereby reducing power output capacity. EDF is consequently adjusting its maintenance outage plan in order to optimize output capacity," EDF said.
The economic slowdown driven by lockdowns has brought about a drop in electricity consumption, which could potentially fall by 20% from usual levels, resulting in reduced nuclear output, the company explained.
"Working alongside the transmission system operator, and to help provide a continuous supply of power throughout the winter of 2020-2021, a number of nuclear reactors may have to be taken offline this coming summer and autumn in order to save fuel on these power plants," EDF said.
EDF operates all of France's 58 nuclear reactors, accounting for about 75% of the country's electricity needs.
By Firdevs Yuksel